The House moved quickly today (Thursday) to enact legislation barring the N.C. Turnpike Authority from building or even studying the unpopular Red Route option for a Wake County toll road that would bulldoze neighborhoods and split Garner in half. [Update Friday 4 p.m.: Gov. Bev Perdue signed the measure into law this afternoon.]
Gov. Bev Perdue is expected early next week to sign the measure, The legislation was sought by Garner officials who had worried they were about to lose a major new employer. An unidentified health services company has an option on 10 acres in a business park that would have been threatened by the Red Route, with plans for 225 jobs at salaries averaging $50,000 a year, town officials said.
"This is a jobs bill," said Rep. Nelson Dollar, a Wake County Republican, as the House approved the Red Route kill bill by 115 to 1.
"You can build this expressway -- just don't do it to Garner," said Rep. Darren Jackson, a Wake County Democrat. The Senate had approved the bill last week in a 50-0 vote.
“I think we can announce to the world now that we’re open for business,” Garner Mayor Ronnie Williams said later.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reaffirmed warnings that had been sounded earlier by turnpike officials. ... [MORE]